CSPR BOARD CHAIRPERSON STATEMENT ON THE COMMEMORATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ERADICATION OF POVERTY
For Immediate Release
CSPR CALLS FOR ACTION TOWARDS POVERTY ERADICATION AND UPHOLDING HUMAN RIGHTS IN ZAMBIA
The Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR) joins the rest of world in commemorating the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty which falls on the 17th of October 2018. This year’s theme: “Coming together with those furthest behind to build an inclusive world of universal respect for human rights and dignity”calls for more practical action in overcoming the nation’s socio-economic challenges and enhancing interventions that will move citizens out of poverty but also allow them to enjoy their rights and leave a life of dignity.
One of the fundamental reasons for our independence struggle was to ensure that all our people especially the poor and vulnerable enjoyed a life of dignity. This must not be a privilege of one class of people only. It is therefore extremely regrettable that 54 years after Independence, the gap between the rich and poor is widening and poverty still remains one of the biggest challenges with the absolute poor accounting for over 40% of the nation’s population. The sad reality is that women and children are the most affected.
We observe the world and the nation continue to issue policy documents and speeches with politically correct language of eradicating poverty and ensuring no one is left behind yet the reality is mostly different. Leaders continue playing politics whilst millions of Zambians continue to suffer the humiliation of poverty and a violation of their human rights. For the over 40% of poor Zambians’ the notion of a free and prosperous Zambia remains just a “dream” as simple things such as access to basic services including legal justice remain an illusion. This scenario continues to keep most of our people perpetually trapped in poverty and also fail to contribute to the productivity and growth of this country. In the same vein, the poor suffer human rights violations of varying degrees on a daily basis. Instead of combating these violations, society continues to exploit the poor especially by the political elite who use these people as instruments to champion their selfish ambitions to gain and maintain power.
As we commemorate this year’s day for the eradication of poverty, we call for more action towards empowering and upholding the rights of the poor. We remain concerned with the continued misuse of public funds meant for the poor by those entrusted to deliver the services on their behalf. Further to this, the continued inertia by our leaders to bring those found wanting to book not only undermines efforts to reduce poverty but also promotes such vices.
We further note the hostile political environment we have found ourselves post the 2016 elections which has shifted our focus from striving towards national sustainable development to one of political power jostling. This does not add value to the attainment of our vision 2030 or improving the lives of our citizens.
In line with the 7NDP, it’s critical that we ensure the active participation of people living in extreme poverty in all efforts to overcome poverty. We demand that the poor are included in the design and implementation of programmes and policies which affect them. This will call for the creation of a genuinely conducive environment that will foster partnership, accountability and inclusivity for all citizens to enjoy their rights and live a life of dignity.